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Chief Executive Officer, The Council on Strategic Risks
Co-Founder, The Center for Climate and Security
Francesco “Frank” Femia is CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), and Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security. He oversees all of CSR’s efforts, including the Center for Climate and Security, the Center on Strategic Weapons and the Bridge Program. He has published extensively on the security implications of climate change, water stress and natural resource mismanagement in Syria and North Africa, including in the seminal report The Arab Spring and Climate Change, the SAIS Review of International Affairs, and the Brown Journal of World Affairs. He is also a regular commentator on how national security, defense and intelligence communities address climate change-related threats, appearing on a range of television programs and the feature film documentary, Age of Consequences. He is frequently-cited and interviewed in both mainstream and niche media outlets, including Fox News, USA Today, Forbes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, the National Review, the New Republic, the BBC, the Atlantic, Defense News, Defense One, and Stars and Stripes, among others.
Previously, Francesco served as Co-President of the Center for Climate and Security, and Co-Chair of the Climate and Security Advisory Group – the primary forum for climate and security dialogue in the U.S. national security community. Before that, he was Program Director at the Connect U.S. Fund, where he led programs ranging from climate resilience to mass atrocity prevention and response.
Francesco is the Co-Founder of both the Council on Strategic Risks and the Center for Climate and Security. He holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he focused on European foreign policy, security and defense issues, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Nuclear Security Working Group.
Email: ffemia (at) climateandsecurity.org
The UNESCO Courier just released a new issue, “Welcome to the Anthropocene.” The Wide Angle portion of the journal includes an article by The Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia on climate change and conflict, summarized below (read the full article here):
The effects of global warming on the world’s physical landscape often lead to geopolitical changes that threaten to destabilize already vulnerable regions, like the Horn of Africa. The stresses on natural resources undermine the capacity of nations to govern themselves, and increase the chances of conflicts. When compared to other drivers of international security risks, climate change can be modelled with a relatively high degree of certainty. But between predicting and preparing, there is still a long way to go.
The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) is pleased to announce John Conger as its new Director. Mr. Conger will oversee all of the Center’s programs, and chair the Climate and Security Advisory Group. He previously served as Senior Policy Advisor with CCS, and as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). As principal deputy comptroller, Mr. Conger assisted the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in the performance of his or her duties, provided advice to the Secretary of Defense on all budgetary and financial matters, including the development and execution of the DoD’s annual budget of over $500 billion, and oversaw the DoD’s efforts to achieve audit readiness. (more…)
The Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG): “A Responsibility to Prepare – Strengthening National and Homeland Security in the Face of a Changing Climate”
The CSAG, a voluntary, non-partisan group of 54 U.S.-based military, national security, homeland security, intelligence and foreign policy experts from a broad range of institutions, is chaired by the Center for Climate and Security in partnership with the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. On February 2018, the group released a new roadmap and recommendations report calling on the U.S. government to to follow the advice of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who argued for a “whole-of-government response” to climate change during his confirmation process.
The report notes that given the threats of climate change identified by the defense, national security and intelligence communities, a rise in destructive climate-driven impacts on the U.S., and an increased capacity to foresee these risks, the U.S. government has a “Responsibility to Prepare” to address these challenges at home and abroad. Specifically, the group recommends that the Administration do so through three lines of effort: Assess, Prepare, and Support.
Assess climate change risks to national and homeland security
Bottom line up front: Maintain and improve systems and processes for better understanding and assessing climate change risks to national and homeland security.
Prepare for climate change risks to national and homeland security
Bottom line up front: Bolster the resilience of critical military and civilian infrastructure to climate change risks, and better organize and resource the U.S. government to manage those risks.
Support allied and partner nation resilience to climate change risks
Bottom line up front: Maintain U.S. leadership by supporting allied and partner nation resilience to climate change risks in strategically-significant regions, and by reducing climate drivers of instability.
Click here for the full report.
Release event video (begins at 1:30:16) with Hon. John Conger, Francesco Femia, Hon. Sherri Goodman, Heather Messera, Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret), Rear Admiral David Titley, U.S. Navy (Ret):
Quotes from the Climate and Security Advisory Group:
“There is an abundance of climate-related data that is of significant concern to our country’s national security. Numerous studies by retired military and national security officials have analyzed these data and concluded that, regardless of the cause, US government multi-agency action is needed now to mitigate these effects of an adversely changing climate.” – Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, Advisory Board, the Center for Climate and Security
“Our nation’s military leaders recognize their responsibility to prepare our forces and bases for the climate risks affecting us today, from the rising sea levels at Norfolk/Hampton Roads VA to Parris Island SC– the Marines’ premier recruit training facility, to increased demand for our forces to respond to wildfires, floods, and hurricanes across the nation. This roadmap and recommendation are designed to help America’s military maintain their readiness by assessing and preparing for climate risks to our force and base structure.” – Sherri Goodman, Senior Advisor for International Security, The Center for Climate and Security
“Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has called for a whole-of-government response to climate change, joining a long list of defense and intelligence leaders going back to the George W. Bush Administration. This ‘responsibility to prepare’ report presents a roadmap for beginning to achieve that goal. – Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Presidents, The Center for Climate and Security